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Sik Og Sejs
Go' Danish Folk Music
Review by Chris Nickson

Listen "Kællingens kat, den snapped’ en mus"

cd cover Aquarter of a century ago, three musicians put the windswept North Sea island of Fanø, just off the west coast of Denmark, on the global musical map. ULC - fiddler Peter Uhrbrand and melodeon player Sonnich Lydom, along with an Irish transplant, Brian Cahill, on guitar and bouzouki - played the music of Fanø, which Uhrbrand and Lydom had known almost all their lives. 'The island's tradition is one that has been passed on locally, usually within families. Nothing was written down, with each generation adding its own touches. 25 years on from that debut, Sik Og Sejs (Come and Go) has been reissued. The music that helped inspire a generation of young Danish musicians and sold out three pressings on its release has returned.

Listen "Mathis Mortensen"

It’s dance music with an 18th century country gentility, as on “Mathis Mortensen.” This is music for looking your partner in the eye as you move around the dancefloor. It’s a reflection of how much Danish music can trace its origin to the English music of the period and its influence in the country.

Listen "Niels Thøgersen"

In small communities on Nordby and Sønderho, once major Danish ports that would have hosted ships from many countries, dances were vital, with local musicians providing the entertainment. They gradually amassed a wide repertoire of tunes, just of small snapshot of which are here, like the delightful “Niels Thøgersen”; they all help to keep that old local tradition alive.

Listen "kunne du mit hjerte se, hvordan det krymper sig"

The trio are relaxed in each other’s company, so obviously used to playing together that it feels as if we are eavesdropping on a joyful session in someone’s kitchen. They know this music inside and out – two of them grew up with it and are shaping it themselves - taking turns to lead and follow with an interplay that’s so unforced and natural that it’s a pure delight. Even the guests (fleeting appearances by tablas, bones, marching drum and tuba) seems like friends who’ve simply dropped by, joining in with an easy, casual air.

Listen "Allemagasej reprise Peder Brinch"

The reissue appends one curious oddity, a 1916 recording of the opening track, “Allemagasej,” by Peder Brich, whose family was one of the main Fanø musical sources. It acknowledges the musical debt to the past, and offers a reminder of just how powerful local traditions can be. It’s good to have such an important album back.

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